Moroccan Sesame Shortbread (Ghoriba)

published Dec 19, 2022
Moroccan Sesame Shortbread (Ghoriba) Recipe

Leaning on slivered almonds as opposed to ground almond flour gives these shortbread cookies the advantage of retaining some pleasing crunch and a confident nutty flavor.

Makesabout 40 cookies

Prep45 minutes

Cook15 minutes

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Ghoriba cookies on surface.
Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

I love the slightly coarse texture of these Moroccan cookies. Using slivered almonds rather than almond meal (ground almonds) has the benefit of retaining some of the nut’s crunch as well as its flavor (many of the flavored oils of nuts are lost to the atmosphere when they are ground and stored). If you’d prefer to make a smaller batch, freeze half the dough to bake for another time (it will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months). Alternatively, I do like the slightly chewy, macaron quality these cookies take on when stored for a few days, so I often make a full batch and enjoy them over a couple of weeks.

Moroccan Sesame Shortbread (Ghoriba) Recipe

Leaning on slivered almonds as opposed to ground almond flour gives these shortbread cookies the advantage of retaining some pleasing crunch and a confident nutty flavor.

Prep time 45 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Makes about 40 cookies

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce

    (30 grams) slivered almonds, toasted

  • 1 ounce

    (30 grams) sesame seeds, toasted

  • 1 teaspoon

    rose water

  • 1/4 cup

    (1 3/4 ounces / 50 grams) granulated sugar

  • 3/4 ounces

    (20 grams) demerara sugar

  • 4 1/2 ounces

    (125 grams) butter

  • 2/3 cup

    (5 fluid ounces / 150 milliliters) vegetable oil

  • 2 3/4 cups

    (13 ounces / 375 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup

    (2 3/4 ounces / 75 grams) confectioners' sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking powder

Instructions

  1. Blitz the almonds in a food processor until a fine crumb forms. Decant into a bowl with the sesame seeds and mix with the rose water, granulated and demerara sugars. Set aside.

  2. In a small saucepan, gently melt the butter with the oil. Tip into a large mixing bowl. Sift the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and baking powder into the bowl and mix to combine. Add the almond and sesame mixture, mix to combine and form into a ball of dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, until firm.

  3. Heat the oven to 325°F.

  4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Take a walnut-sized piece of dough and roll it into a ball. Place the rolled dough on the paper and press down in the center with your thumb to form an indent. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies 3/4 inch (2 cm) apart.

  5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes—they will be lightly golden and will still be soft when you take them out. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  6. Once cool, transfer to an airtight container. The shortbread cookies will keep like this for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe Notes

Excerpted from Middle Eastern Sweets : Desserts, Pastries, Creams & Treats © 2021 by Salma Hage. Photography © 2022 by Liz and Max Haarala Hamilton. Reproduced by permission of Phaidon. All rights reserved.